Jessica Beyer has an MFA in Poetry from New York University and a BA from Emory University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Little Anthology of MFA Students in NYC, The Anemone Sidecar, Lyre Lyre, No, Dear Magazine, The Shine Journal, and Danse Macabre. She lives and teaches in Baltimore.
There is, as you know, only one story.
I tell it to myself to get to sleep.
Before Babel we carried it
on chains around our necks
but when each wearer cracked it open
and poured it down someone else’s throat
we pulled the tower down.
(We didn’t lose the voices, but
I don’t have to tell you that.) It’s a secret
too good to keep. We salt it
for descendents whose haircuts we can’t imagine.
When we biopsied Homer’s larynx
we found burned in Greek
letters This is the only story you will get.
(But still we play with it in the street.)
The shoes change, songs change, but we pass
the names from mouth to mouth.
They bleed like cherries darkly in our throats.
We take it up again in different voices:
when we tore open John the Evangelist’s gums
we found in Aramaic
This story created the universe. This story will destroy it.